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Amazon workers in the US and 30 other countries plan protests for Black Friday

Amazon workers and union activists from about 30 countries, including the United States, plan to walk off the job and stage more protests on Friday to demand better wages and working conditions.

The campaign, which the groups are promoting on Twitter under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPayis timed to coincide with Black Friday, a key shopping day for Amazon and other retailers.

Amid the protests, Amazon workers at a company warehouse in St. Peters, Missouri, plan to stop work on Friday, according to Athena, a coalition of local and national groups lobbying for workers’ rights. at the e-commerce giant.

Industrial action is also planned at Whole Foods stores, which Amazon owns, and other locations in Bessemer, Alabama; Columbia, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; Garner, North Carolina; Joliet, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C.

Amazon workers and activists will also gather outside a residence owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in New York on Friday, Athena said.

“On Black Friday, in what has already been dubbed #MakeAmazonPay day, unions, civil society and progressive elected officials will stand side by side in a massive global day of action to expose the despicable campaigns of millions of Amazon dollars to kill the efforts of worker-led unions,” Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, a group leading the protests, said in a statement. “It’s time for the tech giant to immediately stop its horrific and dangerous practices, uphold the law, and bargain with workers who want to do their jobs better.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Global protest

Among the countries where Amazon will face strikes and protests, according to UNI Global Union: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, – Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey and United Kingdom

Monika di Silvestre, head of Ver.di, a German labor group that helps organize the #MakeAmazonPay campaign, told Bloomberg that workers are particularly concerned about Amazon’s use of computers to monitor their productivity.

“Workers are under a lot of pressure with these algorithms,” she said. “It doesn’t discriminate between workers whether they’re elderly or disabled. Workers stay up at night thinking only about their productivity stats.”

Nearly half of all injuries recorded in US warehouses in 2021 happened on Amazonaccording to the Center for Strategic Organizing, a coalition of trade unions.

“Amazon employed one-third of all warehouse workers in the United States, yet it was responsible for nearly half (49%) of all injuries in the warehouse industry,” according to the Strategic Organizing Center report ( SOC).

Amazon has previously defended its safety record and denied that injury rates are higher at the company’s warehouses.

Unions vs. Amazon: A David and Goliath Story


The company faced increasing pressure in the United States from workers seeking to unionize. Earlier this year, a warehouse on Staten Island in New York became the first Amazon fulfillment center to organize, and other facilities have also filed demands for collective bargaining rights. More recently, workers at an Amazon warehouse in upstate New York voted against unionization.

A federal judge last week ordered Amazon to stop retaliating against employees participating in workplace activism. The decision came in a legal case brought by the National Labor Relations Board, which sued Amazon in March for the reinstatement of a terminated employee who was involved in organizing the company’s Staten Island warehouse.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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